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Critical Essays on Michel Butor’s «L’Emploi du temps»

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Sudarsan Rangarajan

Michel Butor, one of the earliest exponents of the French New Novel, is known for experimenting with narrative voice (the second-person narration in La Modification), focalization (the changes in narrative perspective in Degrés), and the treatment of genres ( L’Emploi du temps).
L’Emploi du temps (1956) is a quintessential nouveau roman for it is about a novel within a novel. In Critical Essays on Michel Butor’s L’Emploi du temps, Sudarsan Rangarajan examines the different aspects of the novel from a postmodern perspective. Engaging contemporary theorists – Sartre, Foucault, de Man, and Prince among others – the essays encompass diverse areas: narratology, rhetoric, genre studies, existentialism, and postcolonialism. From the analysis of the beginnings and the function of narratees to the study of rhetoric, the journalistic discourse, the hybridization of the detective and the Gothic genres, the figure of the flâneur, and postcolonialist concepts (the elite and the subaltern), the essays provide new insights into one of the greatest twentieth-century novels.

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:PaulsonDD.qxd 9/14/2012 5:34 AM Page 1 Sudarsan Rangarajan CRITICAL ESSAYS ON MICHEL BUTOR’S L’EMPLOI DU TEMPS Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures C R ITIC A L ESSAY S O N M IC H EL B U TO R’S L’E M PLO I D U TEM PS 211 Sudarsan R angarajan Michel Butor, one of the earliest exponents of the French New Novel, is known for experimenting with narrative voice (the second-person narration in La Modification), focalization (the changes in narrative perspective in Degrés), and the treatment of genres (L’Emploi du temps). L’Emploi du temps (1956) is a quintessential nouveau roman for it is about a novel within a novel. In Critical Essays on Michel Butor’s L’Emploi du temps, Sudarsan Rangarajan exam- ines the different aspects of the novel from a postmodern per- spective. Engaging contemporary theorists—Sartre, Foucault, de Man, and Prince among others—the essays encompass diverse areas: narratology, rhetoric, genre studies, existentialism, and postcolonialism. From the analysis of the beginnings and the function of narratees to the study of rhetoric, the journalistic dis- course, the hybridization of the detective and the Gothic genres, the figure of the flâneur, and postcolonialist concepts (the elite and the subaltern), the essays provide new insights into one of the greatest twentieth-century novels. SUDARSAN RANGARAJAN received his Ph.D. in French from Florida State University. Currently he is Associate Professor of French and Coordinator of the French program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His areas of interest include...

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